Saturday, February 26, 2011

Italian Flag Pasta Plate Trio

Do you like those pasta sampler platters you can get at some Italian restaurants? Well, I created my own pasta trio, with some shortcuts, to make the meal easy to make and clean up a breeze!

4-5 small breaded chicken tenderloin fillets
1 pound thick spaghetti
1/2 pound linguine
1-2 Tbsp. EVOO (olive oil)
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
1/2 cup butter
1 cup Myzithera cheese, shredded
1/4-1/2 cup pesto sauce
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the breaded chicken tenderloin fillets until done (about 20-25 minutes). Meanwhile, fill two pots with water and bring to a boil. Add the thick spaghetti to one and the linguine to the other and boil until al dente (about 10 -11 minutes), stirring often. Drain pasta completely and put back in the pan to steam off excess water. Add a little olive oil to keep the pasta moist.

While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter in a heavy frying pan on medium heat. Cook the butter until brown (and the butter solids fall to the bottom and get very brown). This may take about as long as the pasta takes to cook. Be sure to watch the butter and stir often, making certain it doesn't smoke.

After the thick spaghetti is cooked. Take half of it and mix with about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of marinara sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Place in an 8x8 greased pan. Place the cooked chicken on top of the spaghetti and top each fillet with a tablespoon of marinara sauce, then sprinkle 1/4 cup or so of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses on top. Bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Toss the cooked and drained linguine with the pesto sauce and if necessary, cover your pan and place in the oven to keep it warm. Just before serving, toss in 1/4 cup or so of grated Parmesan cheese in with the pesto noodles and stir.

To serve: First, place a small amount of the pesto linguine on your plate. In the middle, place a small pile of cooked thick spaghetti on your plate, top with Myzithera cheese and brown butter, being careful not to use the burnt butter solids on the bottom of the pan.  Finally, place a small amount of the chicken with the noodles and marinara sauce on your plate and top the entire plate with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to taste.

If you do it right -- it will look like the Italian Flag -- Green, White and Red!

Sapori deliziosi!

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